Monday, December 22, 2008

Bento #1!

Bottom Tier: Herbs and cheese mashed potatoes
Top Tier: Yellow carrot, black beans, strawberries, raspberries, chocolate-covered raspberry sticks.

Recipe for potatoes *this recipe allows for all kinds of variability:)
3 large (or 5 small) potatoes (I prefer Yukon Golds, but you can use whatever kind you like best)
2 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
2 Tbsp. milk (I use 2%)
1 heaping Tbsp. sour cream or plain yogurt
as much cheese as you'd like
salt and other spices to taste (this batch had black pepper, dill weed, *garlic powder, and Italian herbs)

Boil the potatoes until fork tender (depends on the size--anywhere from 20 to 45-ish minutes). Remove them from the pot, put them in a large bowl, and mash with whatever mashing device you want. Add the butter, and stir until melted. Add the milk, sour cream, and spices, and mix. Add the cheese last, because once it starts getting all gooey, it'll be hard to incorporate anything else in there. This will make enough for your dinner, and then for lunch the next day, and then some (depending on how hungry you are, and who you share it with).

*If I make this recipe on the weekends, I will make roasted garlic for the potatoes instead of using the powder. It really makes a world of difference to the taste:
Cut a head of garlic horizontally across the middle. Place both halves open-face up on some foil (heavy-duty, or a double layer of regular). Sprinkle some extra virgin olive oil on the garlic, and use another piece of foil to cover it. I like to make a little boat out of the bottom sheet so that the oil won't leak out the sides. Then roast at 375 degrees for about 1-1.5 hours (I usually use the toaster oven), until the garlic is golden brown and really soft. Let the garlic cool, and then remove it from the shell with the end of a butter knife.
This is probably my favorite garlic flavor (although I love them all!), but you can also quick-toast your garlic for this recipe by sauteing the whole cloves on medium heat in some olive oil. This is definitely quicker, but it will give you a slightly different, more nutty taste, and you have to be super careful not to burn it, or it will get bitter and gross.

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